Today is your start date

"One year from now, you'll wish you had started today."

I have no idea where I saw this quote, but these simple words are so powerful to me. To begin anything new is the hardest part. Try eating healthy. I had auto excuses that I blurted out over the years. No time, no money, isn't there a holiday coming up soon? Then that holiday just rolls into another one, so there's really no point right now. I truly wanted to eat healthier, and for years I have wanted to eliminate harmful chemicals from my daily use products. Just as soon as one of those desires resurfaced, and the time seemed right, one little excuse would sink the whole ship. Unhealthy habits are impossible to break, or at least that's what I thought. 

With dedicated time and effort, and a real start date, I am now eating "clean" foods most of the time. By most of the time I mean: Riley and I believe that we should have a great foundation here at home but we don't want to be those guests from hell who won't eat anything you cook, we still go out for dinner like we use to, we just make better choices, and we love it.   I cook meals without gluten, dairy, or sugar. From these changes I am free of symptoms that I thought were normal, for my entire life! Stomach aches, "headache days," feeling tired no matter how much sleep I got. My old lifestyle was like working night shift. You don't know how bad you feel until you make a change. The headaches and nausea decrease, the fog is lifted, and your quality of life increases. Everything seems more balanced. I have never felt so satisfied with life either. I am happier, healthier, more energetic, more motivated. I am the same person, but a better version of myself. 

A few of my favorite things, and easiest ways to eat healthy, are pretty obvious: smoothies and salads. I find that I don't waste food when I just toss it all into one of these two things. I pack them with nutrients so that I know what I am eating is working for me, not against me. 

My go to ingredients for a smoothie. This week is exciting because I have new ningxia red supplements from young living. They are packed with antioxidants and taste so good! 

My go to ingredients for a smoothie. This week is exciting because I have new ningxia red supplements from young living. They are packed with antioxidants and taste so good! 

Dinner for two. We also make our own dressing for salads. Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper is my favorite. Sometimes I'll add honey to sweeten it up. I ate about six of these eggplant "pizzas" just FYI.   

Dinner for two. We also make our own dressing for salads. Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper is my favorite. Sometimes I'll add honey to sweeten it up. I ate about six of these eggplant "pizzas" just FYI.   

After feeling the positive effects from our new cooking habits, I was inspired to go further. What else could I do to improve? The answer to my question lies in every product that we put on our bodies, daily. Hundreds of chemicals enter our bodies from our soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, detergents, perfume, the list seems endless. We can't control the environmental toxins that we are exposed to, but we can control these daily use products. This seems beyond overwhelming once you think about how many things you will have to change out. I am overwhelmed at times by it.. but it is important to me. This is a priority, so I will do it as soon as I can afford it. I do essential rewards monthly shipments with young living and this month I purchased the cleaner and hand soap. I was able to put some of my old cleaning products into a box that is headed out the door. There's two things off of my list and I could't be happier about it. In my next order I will add a few more.. and you can see where this is going.  I will keep chipping away until it is done. 

One year from now I can look back and be grateful that today was my start date. 

I wish you wellness.

A few small changes go a long way. I just cleaned my whole apartment with a plant derived, essential oil infused all purpose cleaner. That's a mouthful! Bottom line:  it is safe. I can't put a price tag on the peace of mind that this gives me.    

A few small changes go a long way. I just cleaned my whole apartment with a plant derived, essential oil infused all purpose cleaner. That's a mouthful! Bottom line:  it is safe. I can't put a price tag on the peace of mind that this gives me. 

 

Farm to our table

This weekend was (simply) perfect. Riley and I were able to spend so much of our time together, and truly relax. Gosh that's a beautiful thing. My favorite part of the weekend was going to our local Farmer's market. I want to shop there every Saturday because here in California we are blessed with a year round market. Coming from Michigan this is a huge, and exciting perk! 

I love wandering through, trying samples, talking to the farmers and learning. We spoke to a woman in a straw hat and overalls who was a wealth of knowledge about growing herbs. I wish I could just sit in her show and tell class all day. She told us about the process of making stevia extract at home for a natural sweetener. It sounds a little bit difficult but I would love to try it some day!! 

We brought home some good finds, fruits and vegetables, a stevia plant, a free bar of essential oil infused soap (the guy said it was a sample but it's huge, and smells SO good), sausage and the best of all, a pork shoulder. I had a recipe I wanted to try from a "clean eating" magazine that I picked up at the grocery store and this was exactly what I needed for that. 

Here are some pictures from the Farmer's Market and a few meals that we made from our findings. 

Downtown Pleasanton, isn't it dreamy??

Downtown Pleasanton, isn't it dreamy??

We used leftover sausage and vegetables from the Farmers Market in our eggs and the fruit to add to our green juice. We now use cast iron pans every day. We received one as a wedding present and fell in love, then added this smaller one which I use daily. They are the best!

We used leftover sausage and vegetables from the Farmers Market in our eggs and the fruit to add to our green juice. We now use cast iron pans every day. We received one as a wedding present and fell in love, then added this smaller one which I use daily. They are the best!

The pork shoulder wins the award for best food from the farmer's market! This was a sweet taco, made with 100% organic ingredients and devoured by us in about 1/100th of the time it took to cook it ;) Riley makes  the best  salsa, he started on it early Saturday so that we could snack on it all day and use it on the tacos. Just another reason to love him <3 

The pork shoulder wins the award for best food from the farmer's market! This was a sweet taco, made with 100% organic ingredients and devoured by us in about 1/100th of the time it took to cook it ;) Riley makes the best salsa, he started on it early Saturday so that we could snack on it all day and use it on the tacos. Just another reason to love him <3 

A few things that are completely random but that I don't want to forget about this sweet little weekend:

-How we went hot tubbing on a chilly day and just talked about our goals. Personal, work related, where we see ourselves in 5, 10, 20 years etc. I want to do this more often so that we can keep each other motivated! 

-How, during my yoga class, an Asian man dressed head to toe in denim popped his head in the door and was watching us! Then he yelled out "that's badass" while the teacher was demonstrating a pose and took his shoes off, walked towards someone's mat and was going to randomly join our practice. It completely broke my concentration and even after the teacher (nicely) kicked him out I could not stop laughing. 

-How Riley saw that I was falling asleep during a movie and he got up and did all of the last minute things I do as my routine before bed (dishwasher, get us two glasses of water, set the coffee maker, etc). He is seriously the sweetest! 

I am so grateful for the weekend, for all of the quality time, and for the brainstorming we did. Without going anywhere, or doing anything "exciting" we made a lot of progress and personal growth towards our goals. Just buying from our local farmers is progress towards a goal. It's that easy! 

I wish you wellness. 

Change is a good thing.

A wedding, a move across the country, a new last name, and two new jobs. This all happened to us within a month. That month was October, 2016. Throw in the fact that I wanted to change how we eat, grocery shop and cook, to be healthier and it seems pretty overwhelming. For this reason, the dietary changes were on the back burner until about four weeks ago. I grew up eating all of the processed foods, believing "all things in moderation" was the rule of life, while I actually ate pizza and sweets more times than not. I have been inspired so many times by other people's eating habits, but that inspiration stops dead in its tracks, and I find myself eating junk again or saying those dishonest words, "I'll start eating clean tomorrow." Right.

My husband and I finally made significant lifestyle changes together and I couldn't be happier. Once we were both on board it became a team effort and a relatively simple transition. I have noticed unbelievable changes in my mood, energy levels, and even my satisfaction with life. I will explain what steps we took because I want as many of you as possible to join me. There are people who are so far beyond what we are doing, who are #healthgoals but I want to reach out to those who say "I want to be healthy" but have never taken that first step. There are also people who think what I use to.. that eating clean or organic is some kind of fad or diet craze that will fade out. Bottom line, the more you educate yourself, the more clear this whole food concept becomes. The processed foods, and the amount of sugar and GMOs we consume are hurting us, badly. I will get into this more over time but honestly, if I can choose to consume chemicals and toxins or not, I know which choice I will make. Once you want this for yourself the cost of real food doesn't seem like such an obstacle (that was always my greatest concern). I just had to move things around in the budget to make it work. About four weeks ago, I started transitioning all of our food from the easiest and cheapest ingredients, to organic. My husband and I also cut out dairy, and gluten. The only sweeteners we have used are raw, local honey, pure maple syrup, and coconut sugar. For dessert I have a few pieces of unsweetened dark chocolate or a serving of fruit. I love to take recipes from Facebook videos (I think it's so strange how much FB has changed over the years but I am obsessed with the cooking videos!!), clean eating magazines, and sometimes I just google the ingredients that I have and a recipe pops up like magic. I find myself on paleo blogs, or vegan ones, because I'm back to "all things in moderation" as long as it's clean eating. We make a point to increase our vegetable portions and use those mentioned sweeteners sparingly, as well as decrease fruit portions. There is this one fact that I keep coming across in my research. Cancer cells feed on sugar. Ugh, that sentence alone is enough to make me stay away. I will be sharing my favorite recipes so far but for now, one of my best tips is to stop eating sugar for breakfast! I'm not sure why we start our days like that, it's almost asking for a crash later. I now eat vegetables in a smoothie, with about half of a banana, packed with nutrients. Sometimes I really do just run around the kitchen and throw everything I can think of in those smoothies. God bless my husband for drinking them :) The easiest way for me to eat better is just to make it a challenge: how many nutrients can I pack into this one meal?

 

Last weekend I traveled to North Dakota for my sister and brother-in-law's graduation. I made a point to eat clean, I even found a decent cafe in the airport with real food :) I packed almonds and fruit/nut bars for snacks on the plane and my brother had some groceries waiting for me at the hotel to help me stick to my clean eating (thanks Jon!). This trip is when I recognized real, positive changes. After two flights and a whole day of travel I felt great, no, amazing. I felt so excited, had energy to burn and I was barely tired upon my arrival. This is not my traveling norm! My Mom even said I looked "different in a good way" when she met me in the lobby. I can't explain in words how encouraging this was. Even so, I went back to some old ways. It's actually easy to eat clean at home but going out is still a challenge. At dinner I ordered salmon and vegetables, but then started snacking on the tables community waffle fries (covered in cheese), later we had cocktails with plenty of sugar in them at the coolest Speakeasy bar in Bismarck! Oh yeah and I had my old favorite: pizza.  Just a side note, I don't believe you should never consume these things again, eating clean can be your base for wellness, one or two unhealthy things aren't going to take all of that goodness away. I just want to make a point as to how I felt after the weekend of getting off track. Honestly, I was sick, all I wanted to do was sleep, my return trip home was exhausting. After the pizza (sorry papa johns) I was actually dizzy. It sounds crazy but I consider these symptoms a blessing. If I didn't feel terrible from junk food it would be a lot harder to eat well. I am (normally) drained of energy in airports, and this was no exception. The next day I still felt exhausted and drained. I knew had to get back to the good stuff. 

It has been a few days now and I can feel the beautiful difference. My smoothies and salads are healing me from the inside out. Just from eating clean I am sleeping better, waking up earlier with energy, and I feel so happy and grateful. This is a peace that I hope everyone can have, it just takes a little bit of effort on your part. I wish you wellness. 

I could write all day about how grateful I am for my husband, but I'll spare you :P I just want to say I could not do this or make these changes without his support!&nbsp;

I could write all day about how grateful I am for my husband, but I'll spare you :P I just want to say I could not do this or make these changes without his support! 

October, 2016. The start to many amazing changes. We pretty much look the same now but I can promise you we feel SO "different in a good way."  Photo cred: Jamie &amp; Sarah Photo. Grand Rapids, MI Photographers.

October, 2016. The start to many amazing changes. We pretty much look the same now but I can promise you we feel SO "different in a good way."

Photo cred: Jamie & Sarah Photo. Grand Rapids, MI Photographers.